You can call someone who voted for Jeremy Corbyn a “dreamer”, but it is no use asking him or her to look under the bonnet of a car to put right a fault, or to do a complicated long-division sum. And don’t get them started about the “secretive elite” who rule the world.
A survey by the polling company YouGov has delved into which character types support each of the four candidates in Labour’s leadership election, and it provides some intriguing insights.
Someone who votes for the Blairite Liz Kendall, for example, is likely to be on a household income of over £40,000 a year, but not be a great user of social media.
Ms Kendall’s supporters are not keen to abolish the monarchy, nor are they set against sending in the RAF to bomb Isis. And as a rule they don’t tend to believe in conspiracy theories about who rules the world.
But as YouGov’s pollsters tried to get inside the mind of the average Corbyn supporter, they found that two-thirds accept that the famous phrase “You may say I’m a dreamer”– taken from “Imagine”, John Lennon’s anti-war song – applies to them.
Meanwhile, more than a quarter of these supporters – 28 per cent – believe that “the world is controlled by a secretive elite”.
Nearly two-thirds of Corbyn’s supporters are in households with an income below £40,000 a year. When asked what their “mental strengths” are, just under half say “verbal”, but only 13 per cent claim to be good at mathematics, and a paltry 5 per cent rate themselves as having “mechanical intelligence”.
The political opinions of the typical Corbyn backer, unsurprisingly, are along the same lines as the candidate’s own. They want to see wealth distributed from rich to poor, they think the monarchy should be abolished, the railways and the big six energy companies should be renationalised, that private firms should not be involved in running any part of the NHS, and that “the greatest single menace to world peace is the USA”.
A substantial minority of Corbynites would have the Government pay all university tuition fees and are opposed to any military intervention in Syria.
Almost three-quarters of Corbyn’s supporters describe themselves as “left wing”, whereas supporters of Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall tend to prefer “left of centre”. Yvette Cooper’s support is equally divided between the two.
Labour leadership: The Contenders
Labour leadership: The Contenders
1/2 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn started off as the rank outsider in the race to replace Ed Miliband and admitted he was only standing to ensure the left of the party was given a voice in the contest. But the Islington North MP, who first entered Parliament in 1983, is now the firm favourite to be elected Labour leader on September 12 after a surge in left-wing supporters signing up for a vote.
2/2 Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham started out as the front-runner in the leadership election, seen as the candidate of the left until Jeremy Corbyn entered the race. The former Cabinet minister has found himself squeezed between the growing populism of Corbyn’s radical agenda and the moderate, centre-left Yvette Cooper, not knowing which way to turn. It has attracted damaging labels such as ‘flip-flop Andy’, most notably over his response to the Government’s Welfare Bill. He remains hopeful he can win enough second preference votes to take him over the 50 per cent threshold ahead of Corbyn.
The YouGov survey was conducted in the first week of August, a week ahead of the final closing date for those wanting to vote in the leadership elections. That may have skewed the findings, as in the remaining week another 200,000 applications came in, but YouGov claims it is unlikely the late entrants were any different from those who were on the roll earlier.
It also points out that the Labour electorate is not representative of the population as a whole – and the different groups of supporters have more in common with each other than with most of the population, who are a lot less interested in politics.Reuse content